Govt under fire over Pak talks, accused of ‘flip-flop, betrayal’

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 07, 2015 14:51 IST
India and Pakistan agreed on Sunday to a constructive engagement on bilateral issues after marathon meeting between the national security advisers of both countries in Bangkok, reviving the possibility of a thaw in frosty ties. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan High Commission)

Opposition parties, and even its own ally Shiv Sena, sought to corner the government on Monday over the “secret” NSA-level talks held with Pakistan in Bangkok.

The Congress accused the ruling NDA of making a “fundamental departure” in India’s stand on ties with Pakistan without informing Parliament.

“The Prime Minister must inform the House about the developments and the reasons which have caused the government to make a fundamental departure from the position as was conveyed to this House in the last session with regard to India’s engagement with Pakistan,” Congress MP Anand Sharma said.

Adjournment motions were moved in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seeking a debate on the crucial matter.

The government said a statement could not be given immediately as external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was busy with visiting Mauritius president Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

“We have taken note of the concerns of the House and will convey to the external affairs minister and a response will be given to the House at the earliest,” parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu said in the Lok Sabha.

The controversy comes a day after national security adviser AK Doval met his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retd) Nasir Khan Janjua in Bangkok and discussed “peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and other issues including tranquility along the LoC”

Opposition parties called it a “flipflop” in the government’s Pakistan policy, as previous talks had collapsed over India’s refusal to include Kashmir in the agenda.

“It’s a grand betrayal. It’s a betrayal of everything that this government has ostensibly, publicly espoused,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.

Ruling front ally Shiv Sena joined in the criticism saying there was no point in holding talks with Pakistan.

“Going to a third nation and discussing the problems between India and Pakistan shows the relationship between the nations. While their talks keep happening, Kashmir continues to get infiltrated and ceasefire violations are on the rise,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI.

Responding to the BJP’s claim that Pakistan was forced to talk terror, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah asked, “If Pakistan was ‘made to talk terror’, was India also ‘made to talk Kashmir’ since Jammu and Kashmir had found no mention in Ufa.”

But state chief minister and ally Mufti Mohammad Sayeed welcomed the talks. “A process of confidence building measures has started,” he said.

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